Archaeologists discover ancient Mayan city on construction site

"We think more than 4,000 people lived around here," one archaeologist said.

 The ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol, are pictured after archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas on a construction site of what will become an industrial park in Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022. Picture taken May 26, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)
The ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol, are pictured after archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas on a construction site of what will become an industrial park in Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022. Picture taken May 26, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas on a construction site of what will become an industrial park near Merida, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The site, called Xiol, has features of the Mayan Puuc style of architecture, archaeologists said, which is common in the southern Yucatan Peninsula but rare near Merida.

"We think more than 4,000 people lived around here," said Carlos Peraza, one of the archaeologists who led the excavation of the city, estimated to have been occupied from 600-900 A.D.

Ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol, are pictured after archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas on a construction site of what will become an industrial park in Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)Ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol, are pictured after archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Mayan city filled with palaces, pyramids and plazas on a construction site of what will become an industrial park in Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)

"There were people from different social classes... priests, scribes, who lived in these great palaces, and there were also the common people who lived in small buildings"

Aarchaeologists Carlos Peraza

Researchers also located nearby burial grounds of adults and children, who were interred with obsidian and flint tools, offerings and other belongings.

Remains of marine life were also discovered in the area, suggesting the city's inhabitants complemented their agricultural-based diets by fishing along the nearby coast.

Vases, pots and tools are displayed after being discovered in the ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)Vases, pots and tools are displayed after being discovered in the ruins of a Mayan site, called Xiol Kanasin, near Merida, Mexico May 26, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/Lorenzo Hernandez)

Xiol was discovered after construction began on an industrial park. That will still be built, though the archaeological remains will be preserved, according to the owners of the land.

"With time, urban sprawl (in the area) has grown and many of the archaeological remains have been destroyed... but even we as archaeologists are surprised, because we did not expect to find a site so well preserved," Peraza said.